Clean up process is underway at Atoy First Baptist Church after devastating storm

Clean up process is underway at Atoy First Baptist Church, after tornado last Saturday
Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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ATOY, Texas (KTRE) - Many cities in East Texas were affected by tornadoes last Saturday. Some structures in the city of Atoy sustained damage, as well.

A pastor says he is thankful their church building was not harmed.

Atoy First Baptist Church member Michael Tugwell says he remembers last weekend vividly.

“We had to walk in from here. There were several trees down from just this short patch of road here. About five or six trees probably across the road right here. We had to walk around and downed power lines,” Tugwell explained.

The church barely sustained any damage. Pastor Mike Bradford says once he walked around the building, he was devastated.

“Our pavilion out back that we used for get together and everything. It was almost smashed to the ground be two trees. There were other trees that had not landed on it but were all around it,” Bradfrord said.

Back in 2015, the church burnt down. Tugwell says things could have been worse.

“I’m thankful because it could’ve leveled this building. We had one limb hit on the backside and knocked a whole in it. We patched it already,” Tugwel added.

Last year, Atoy First Baptist Church did not meet for Easter due to COVID-19.

This year, members will have a Sunday school breakfast, goodie bags for kids and a worship service. Bradford says this Sunday’s message is timeless.

“The message hasn’t changed. The message is still that Jesus Christ is Lord,” Bradford said. “He is able to save those out of very difficult situations in their life and bring them through. Just like he did this building. Just like he does this congregation.”

With many trees still down, Bradford says the next few weeks will be dedicated to cleaning up.

“We are still waiting on our insurance agent to come take a look at pavilion and everything. From there, it will just be a matter of taking the steel apart and getting it hauled away, then we will start rebuilding,” Bradford explained.

The church does not want the fallen trees to go to waste. Pastor Bradford plans to hire someone to take away the timber that is in good condition and re-use it.

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